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Race for the Future makes a positive impact in Taranto

by SailGP 19 Jun 2021 03:15 PDT
Race for the Future makes a positive impact in Taranto © SailGP

With two events completed and the championship standings tightening, the Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto also marked the continuation of SailGP's Race for the Future - using its platform for purpose to break boundaries in sustainable sport and champion a world powered by nature.

In Taranto, SaiGP focused on local community engagement, collaborating with host city authorities to support projects delivering a positive social and environmental impact. These projects achieved the following measurable results:

  • 118 young people engaged via SailGP Inspire - the league's gender-balanced youth and community outreach program focusing on young people between 9-23 years old. The program offers training courses, careers opportunities and racing for young people through its three program pathways - Learning, Careers and Racing.

  • Supported the University of Bari's project to regenerate the site of a former 19th Century Arms factory by planting 50 Poplar trees, with the goal of decontaminating the soil and sequestering carbon to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

  • Utilized 332 square feet of portable clean energy solar panel array from Aggreko to increase the volume of energy generated using renewables - helping to move the league towards 100% clean energy event delivery by 2025.

  • Conducted innovative remote broadcast and operations management, with live production taking place from a remote studio more than 1,000 miles away in London, avoiding the need for an additional 85 return flights, saving 45 tonnes of CO2 as part of SailGP's climate positive agenda.

On shore, SailGP supported a clean energy project through planting 50 trees with the University of Bari who are creating a nature reserve within the Mar Piccolo transitional wetland ecosystem. SailGP also continued to break the mould with it's award-winning remote broadcast ethos that's delivering measurable impact for a better planet, and the use of solar panels for it's portable event energy infrastructure.

On-water, SailGP Inspire engaged young people from the local community through learning and development initiatives. Through Race for the Future social and environmental impact projects and local community engagement, SailGP demonstrated its belief in the power of sport for good and its commitment to inspire other sports, events, cities and fans to show how they can all make small changes for a better planet.

The initiatives delivered in Taranto contributed towards building a better sport that's more inclusive and more entertaining and promoting a better planet by being carbon positive - making more impact than it's footprint on shore and on-water and accelerating the transition to clean energy.

SailGP director of purpose and impact, Fiona Morgan said: "Momentum is well and truly building in the Race for the Future. Taranto was SailGP's second successful climate positive event this season and it was incredible to be on the ground to see our on-shore clean energy and on-water Inspire projects gathering pace and taking SailGP from intention to action. The scale of the operational efficiencies, passion and commitment from everyone involved to accelerate change and deliver our Race for the Future programs is really impressive."

Better Sport: SailGP Inspire

In Taranto, and at every host city where it races, SailGP operates activities through SailGP Inspire to engage young people from the local community in sailing and the opportunities it brings. The goal is to engage 10,000 young people through Inspire between Season 2 and Season 5.

SailGP Inspire in Taranto saw gender-balanced participation from 118 local young people. Opportunities included:

  • 39 young people participated in SailGP's Adopt-a-Club program that saw the eight national SailGP teams partnering with local sailing clubs and organizations and flying their flags during the event.
  • 40 young people took part in a learning programme hosted by the local dolphin conservation society.
  • A series of virtual learning seminars with 12 students taking part in talks hosted by SailGP technical team members and local hero Francesco Bruni, showcasing the professional opportunities within sailing, with a focus on photography and video production, hospitality, sustainability and technology.
  • 18 young sailors from local clubs in Taranto took part in RS Feva Racing culminating in a spectacular parade of sail along the spectator-lined seawall on each day before racing.
  • 10 young male and female athletes took part in Inspire Racing, sailing the hydrofoiling WASPZ dinghy on the SailGP racecourse. The young athletes represented Italy, Malta and Greece.
  • The Inspire race marks; MarkSetBots, were powered by Renogy Solar Suitcases for the first time, taking them entirely off the grid and being powered by nature.

Better Planet: Climate Positive local impact project

Two days before the event, SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts joined representatives from local institutions plus the Mayor of Taranto to plant the first of 50 new trees in support of the University of Bari's bioremediation project on the site of a former 19th Century Arms factory and illegal dumping ground in the Mar Piccolo region of Taranto.

Planting Poplar trees will help to reduce the level of soil contamination at the site, protecting the habitat for local wildlife and helping to sequester carbon to mitigate the impact of climate change caused by air pollution. In two years' time, the trees will reduce the soil pollutant concentration back to below the legal limit. In five years, the trees will become part of a biomass fuel source in the region, helping to reduce CO2 air pollution from coal fuel by 1.48 tonnes.

The project also kick-started a crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with the ARCA Program (Research Ambassadors for Environmental Knowledge) where members of the public can adopt a tree at the site with the aim of planting 1,000 new trees in five years.

Powered by nature

SailGP uses cutting-edge technology to champion a world powered by nature (wind, sun, water). With the ocean as it's racetrack, sailing has a natural affinity with the elements and SailGP teams, staff and partners are all advocates for the power of sport to act as a global platform for protecting nature.

In Taranto, SailGP scaled up its operational delivery of climate positive events in partnership with portable energy provider Aggreko. Installing 332 square feet of Solar Panels enhanced the volume of energy generated using renewables during the event, to move SailGP towards its goal of delivering 100% clean energy events by 2025. Over the course of the event, the Agrekko solar-photovoltaic system produced enough energy from the sun to power a typical UK household for more than 22 days.

Remote operations

Delivering boundary-breaking sport in a climate positive way requires massive innovation, and SailGP is harnessing innovative technology to unlock the benefits of operating remotely. Remote broadcasting, remote umpiring and remote race operations are reducing SailGP's carbon footprint at every race and working towards the leagues 55% footprint reduction target by 2025.

Moving key broadcasting, umpiring and race operations to a remote model has resulted in a huge reduction in the amount of people and equipment that has to be moved around the world, cutting out thousands of tons of carbon emissions for Season 2.

In Taranto, a team of 85 producers and engineers from SailGP's broadcasting team were able to deliver all the action to the fans via dedicated live feeds, without needing to physically travel to Italy. Using cloud-based data systems, that are also powered by clean energy, means that the remote broadcasting team is saving 45 Tonnes of CO2 in air travel alone.

SailGP chief technology officer Warren Jones said: "We want to be different and we want to be as efficient as possible with the tools that we have. Remote production is future-proofing SailGP for the next ten years. Our goal is to use technology and innovation to create a better sport."

The Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto culminated in a fairytale ending, with an emphatic home victory for Italian Francesco Bruni and the Japan SailGP Team in front of sell-out crowds in the vibrant southern city.

SailGP's Race for the Future will continue on July 17-18 as the sport's best athletes take to the waters of Plymouth, U.K for the third event in the global league's championship calendar.

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